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Educational Resources
Help Center
Help Center

How to Write a Grant Proposal [Templates Included]

By Tobi Ojenike, Feb 28, 2024

how to write a grant proposal

If you work for a nonprofit organization or are a researcher, you’ll know that a grant proposal is a document submitted to a funding agency.

Grant proposals are also known as a request for application, notice of funding opportunity, or request for quotes and qualifications.

Grant proposals are your chance to convince grantmaking bodies (agencies that distribute funds) to hand over money. Generally, grant proposals include information such as an organization’s mission and budgetary needs.

In this post, I’ll show you how to write a successful grant proposal (tips and templates included!) and then teach you how to make a grant proposal using a Proposal Maker and grant proposal templates.


Click to jump ahead:

Here are some things to consider before writing a grant proposal

  • Audience: Consider your target audience and tailor your copy to their interests and needs.
  • Funding: Choose your funder carefully. Always have an alternative list of potential funders and know the long-term sustainability of your project.
  • Understand the grant requirements: Every grantmaking body sets its own rules regarding goals, application deadlines, and guidelines, so make sure you understand them and can differentiate between them.
  • Have a plan:  Create a specific, actionable plan for what you want to do and why. Make sure you know how your plan will achieve positive results.
  • Write a draft: Research and write down each request in an outline. Plan how you’ll add visuals to give your grant proposal an extra edge.
  • Be clear and concise: Avoid writing in the past tense and use action verbs. Again, visuals can sometimes be a better option over words.
  • Include supporting materials: Provide a budget of how you’ll use the funds and include evidence to substantiate any claims you make.

Other helpful tips to consider

Here are some extra tips to help you write a grant proposal that stands out.

  • Start early
  • Apply early and often
  • Get feedback and revise your proposal accordingly
  • Be brief, concise and clear
  • Be organized and logical
  • Be explicit and specific
  • Be realistic in designing the project
  • Follow up after the proposal

How to write a grant proposal

Grant writing can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be if you understand the basics.

In this section, I’ll give you tips on how to write grant proposals that’ll impress prospective funders (grant writers take note!).

Include a cover letter

The cover letter is not technically part of a grant proposal but they’re core to a successful grant application because it helps funders understand who you are.

Busy decisionmakers want to know who they’ll be funding and look for clues in your cover letter after reading through your proposal.

In your cover letter, don’t be afraid to bring out your personality, but also make sure you cover the basics like how your project fits with the funder’s objective.

Minimalist Blue Gray Small Business Grant Proposal

Include an executive summary

The executive summary is probably the first (and maybe only) part of a grant proposal read by a funding organization.

It needs to be concise and summarize key points such as goal, strategy, people involved, expected results, and budgetary needs.

Here’s an example executive summary for some inspiration.

Grant Proposal

Provide organizational information

Providing organizational information in a grant proposal helps build credibility and establishes trust.

More importantly, this section allows funders to assess the alignment between their funding priorities and your organization’s goals and activities.

Therefore, make sure to answer questions like: What is your mission? Do you have an organizational history? What will be the impact of this project? What other programs or services do you render? 

Here’s an example of background organizational information you can make your own.

Grant Proposal

State your objective(s)

Early in your grant proposal, you should state the objectives of your project, the target audience, and expected results.

This underscores the feasibility of your project within a grant timeframe and can influence funders’ decision on a project’s worthiness (i.e.; the difference between a yes and no).

Here’s a great example of a grant proposal that nails this section.

Grant Proposal

Describe the statement of needs

The statement of needs section is used to build strong case for your project.

In this section, use data, facts and figures to back statements. This will be more meaningful than just words alone.

But make sure your data is accurate. There’s nothing worse than misleading information which can lead to rejections and damage your reputation.

Here’s a grant proposal template that has a customizable statement of needs.

Minimalist Blue Gray Small Business Grant Proposal

Explain your methods and strategies

You’ve identified a problem and solution, but how are you going to achieve what you plan to do?

That’s what the methods and strategies section is for. Here, potential funders want to see how you’ll use their funds to determine if the project is viable.

For example, maybe your objective is to enhance community health through a mobile clinic initiative.

Detail each step of this process from procurement of medical equipment and vehicles, recruitment and training process for healthcare professionals, and logistics for deploying mobile clinics.

Here’s an example of a grant proposal that first lists goals and objectives and immediately provides an overview of the path to success.

Minimalist Blue Gray Small Business Grant Proposal

Include an evaluation plan

When funders hand out money, they have certain conditions, like making sure you are held accountable of project progress. Often, you’ll only get more money to continue as you complete milestones.

The evaluation plan section is where you show funders how you’ll spend money as described in your grant proposal to ease their fears and doubts.

This section also shows funders that you have a realistic timeline for the project and that you’re not using the funds for any other purposes.

Grant Proposal for Education Initiatives

Include a project budget

Perhaps the most part of your grant proposal is the project budget. This is where you reveal exactly how you’ll be using funds.

Be transparent and provide a full overview of expenses and detail where and how it’ll be spent.

A great way to do this is to use an itemized table or financial plan.

When presenting an overall sum, make sure you don’t overstate or understate your needs. You don’t want funders to doubt your true intent or doubt project viability.

Here’s a grant proposal with a budget section you can use.

Grant Proposal

Include a financial sustainability plan

Most grant writers overlook including a long-term financial sustainability plan.

Most funders view grants as a long-term investment and want to back projects that can be sustainable even after the money stops rolling in.

Demonstrating a clear understanding of these factors shows funders that you have thoroughly considered the project’s financial trajectory and are prepared to manage it responsibly.

What should you include here? Total cost of future ownership, maintenance costs, inflation, ongoing, and future growth potential are a few ideas.

Sign off with your team information

Treat grant proposals as official documentation.

At the end of your grant proposal, include your (or your company’s) contact details. This makes it easier for the funders to reach out to you and do their research on you and your team.

Here’s an example of a grant proposal with a great ‘about us’ section.

Grant Proposal

Sample grant proposal templates

Now that you understand the basics of a grant proposal, it’s time to get to work and create your own.

But you don’t need to start from scratch. Instead, edit these grant proposal templates and convert them into your own winning proposal

(Hint: visit the links to see the entire template).

Olive Green and White Simple Modern Minimalist Grant Proposals
technology grant proposal template

How to create grant proposals with Venngage

If you want to create grant proposals that grab attention, look no further than Venngage.

With Venngage, you can you communicate boring technical info with engaging visuals and customize our professionally-designed grant proposal templates.

You don’t need to be a designer to use Venngage. If you know how to work Microsoft Word or Google Slides or similar tools, you can use Venngage.

Step 1 – Sign up for a Venngage account (it’s free!)

Sign up for a Venngage account for free using your email, Gmail or Facebook.

venngage sign up

Step 2 – Go to the “Templates” page and select “Proposals”

Venngage already has grant proposal templates you can edit to suit your idea and vision.

To find them, go to our templates page and choose the “Proposals” category. After selecting it, this screen should load.  

proposal templates venngage

NoteSome of our grant proposal templates are free to use and some require a small monthly fee. Sign-up is always free, as is access to Venngage’s online drag-and-drop editor.

Step 3 – Select the “grant proposal” subcategory

Look for the grant proposals subcategory in the proposals template page and select it.

grant proposal templates venngage

Step 4 – Customize your grant proposal

Browse our selection of grant proposal templates. Once you find one you like, click on it to launch the editor tool.

Here, you’ll be able to add your own text, change the design, and customize the template as you like.

Some of your customization options include:

  • Add engaging visuals and symbols 
  • Change color scheme
  • Change the fonts and text to match your brand or style
  • Move elements around with a drag and drop interface

For example, let’s pretend I chose this grant proposal template to customize.

Let’s edit this together.

education grant proposal template

For example, I want to replace the logo to reflect my company. Well, just select it and click the “Replace” feature on the top left. 

education grant proposal edited

Once you click “Replace“, a tab will open where you can select visuals from our library of icons. You can also upload an image (your logo).

By the way, our in-editor library has thousands of free, professional icons, plus diverse icons.

education grant proposal icon change

Now, let’s say I want to change the background color of some of my template.

That’s easy as well! Just select the text or background and select the “Replace” feature again. This time, you’ll be prompted with another pop-up where you can select a different color.

education grant proposal background change

If you sign up for a Business Plan, you’ll also get access to My Brand Kit. With this, you can apply your brand colors to any design with one click. 

Step 5 – Save, share, or download your grant proposal

When your grant proposal is complete, you can save it as a PDF or PNG file if you’re on a Business Plan.

However, all users will always have access to shareable link that they can send potential funders.

venngage download page

Final thoughts: Create grant proposals with Venngage and secure funding today

A well-structured grant proposal with appealing visuals can make a lasting impression on funders and tip the balance in your favor.

Don’t waste your time with tools like Word, Google Docs where you’ll get limited design flexibility and visuals that don’t engage.

Instead, head over to Venngage’s grant proposal templates to give yourself a winning edge.


Frequently asked questions

How long is a grant proposal? 

The length of a grant proposal depends on the funder but a typical grant proposal is usually between 5-20 pages. The funding body might request additional documents as well, so it’s important to know funding guidelines.

What is the writing style for a grant proposal?

The writing style for a grant proposal is formal. You want to be concise and objective, so focus on clarity, impact and your alignment with the priorities of the funder.

What is the lifecycle of a grant proposal?

The grant proposal lifecycle begins with research, planning and development, followed by drafting, revising and editing the narrative and budget. Applications are then submitted before funders review and make decisions. If successful, negotiations may occur to finalize details, after which the funded project is implemented according to the approved plan. Finally, progress and final reports are submitted to the funder. This cyclical process ensures accountability and project success.

What is the difference between a proposal and grant proposal?

Proposal is a broader term encompassing various applications for funding, resources, or partnerships whereas a grant proposal specifically refers to an application for grant funding from a foundation, government agency, or other organization.

What is the difference between a grant proposal and a grant letter?

A grant proposal is a detailed document that includes the project description, methodology, financial plan, and financing rationale. A grant letter, on the other hand, can be a more straightforward request or statement of interest.